BOSTON -- For the second straight postseason, the Astros took it to the Red Sox in Game 1. But this time, the clubs will play a best-of-seven American League Championship Series instead of the more abbreviated Division Series Houston won in four games last year.To get back on track, the
BOSTON -- For the second straight postseason, the Astros took it to the Red Sox in Game 1. But this time, the clubs will play a best-of-seven American League Championship Series instead of the more abbreviated Division Series Houston won in four games last year.
To get back on track, the Sox will need a strong pitching performance by lefty David Price in tonight's Game 2. Manager Alex Cora's team will also need to make far more noise with the bats than they did while getting just three hits in Game 1.
:: ALCS schedule and results ::
Righty Gerrit Cole will try to keep the momentum on Houston's side. The Astros are 4-0 in this postseason.
Astros: Facing another left-hander, the Astros kept their same lineup from Game 1.
1. George Springer, CF
- Jose Altuve, 2B
- Alex Bregman, 3B
- Yuli Gurriel, 1B
- Tyler White, DH
- Marwin Gonzalez, LF
- Carlos Correa, SS
- Martin Maldonado, C
- Josh Reddick, RF
• Springer extends postseason hitting streak
Red Sox: The Red Sox sure could use a big-time performance from star right fielder Mookie Betts, who has yet to have a breakout offensive performance in these past three seasons of postseason baseball. When Betts gets on base, the entire lineup feeds off him. Rafael Devers gets the nod at third in Game 2 after Eduardo Nunez had a tough game in the field in the series opener while going 0-for-3.
1. Mookie Betts, RF
- Andrew Benintendi, LF
- J.D. Martinez, DH
- Xander Bogaerts, SS
- Steve Pearce, 1B
- Rafael Devers, 3B
- Ian Kinsler, 2B
- Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
- Christian Vazquez, C
Who are the starting pitchers?
Astros: Cole starts Game 2 for the Astros after a dominating performance against the Indians in Game 2 of the ALDS. Cole struck out 12 batters in seven innings and allowed three hits and one run against the Indians last week. In two starts against Boston this season, Cole was 1-0 with a 3.46 ERA and 15 strikeouts.
Red Sox: All the pressure is on Price to get the Red Sox a split before the series shifts to Houston for Game 3. This would be an ideal time for Price to finally break through in the postseason as a starter. He is 0-9 with a 6.03 ERA in his 10 previous starts in the playoffs. However, Price has performed well against the Astros in his career, including last year's postseason as a reliever. Over the last three seasons, Price is 3-0 with a 2.43 ERA against the Astros, holding them to a .205 average and a .599 OPS.
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Astros: The Astros used two of their three late-inning arms in Game 1, with Thomas Pressly and Lance McCullers each throwing a scoreless inning. They'll be ready for Game 2, along with closer Roberto Osuna, who warmed up in Game 1 but didn't pitch after the Astros blew the game open.
Red Sox: Look for righty Rick Porcello to be thrust into action if Price isn't able to go deep into the game. Cora used five of his seven relievers after Chris Sale lasted just four innings in Game 1, so Porcello could come in handy. The righty was sharp in his lone relief appearance in the ALDS and also came up big in his Game 4 start. Closer Craig Kimbrel is also rested, having not pitched since his near meltdown in Game 4 of the ALDS on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.
Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Red Sox:Joe Kelly threw 33 pitches in Game 1, so it wouldn't be surprising if Cora stays away from him.
Any injuries of note?
Red Sox: The Red Sox are still monitoring Mitch Moreland's right hamstring, though the left-handed hitter did draw a pinch-hit walk to drive in a run in Game 1.
Who is hot and who is not?
Astros: Springer has a hit in 10 consecutive playoff games, including all four this year. He has multiple RBIs in two consecutive games. Altuve is 4-for-18 in the playoffs this year, while Gurriel is 3-for-16, including a three-run homer in Game 1 of the ALCS. Correa is 2-for-13, including a three-run homer in Game 3 of the ALDS.
Red Sox: Nobody was hot in Game 1, as the Sox accumulated just three hits, and all of them were singles. Leon has just two hits in his last 46 at-bats, and Cora will pinch-hit for him early in games when he comes up in a crucial spot.
Anything else fans might want to know?
• Betts is due to have a monster postseason performance. In his career in the playoffs, he is slashing .239/.327/.326 with no homers and two RBIs.
• The Red Sox also lost Game 1 of the ALCS in 2013 to the Tigers, but came back to win Game 2, and took the series in six games.
• The Astros took the first two games of their ALCS against the Yankees last year, but the series wound up going seven games.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow <ahref="http: twitter.com/brianmctaggart"="">@brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.</ahref="http:>